‘Smell of marijuana’ new police tactic?

Jeremy M. Lazarus | 8/9/2018, 6 a.m.
A new police tactic is opening the door to warrantless searches of individuals, vehicles and homes. To generate the “reasonable ...

Mr. Chavis said he was shaken by the experience.

In a response to a Facebook question, Mr. Chavis wrote that the officer said “he pulled me cuz he smelled marijuana. From his car. With his windows up. While both our cars were in motion.”

Mr. Chavis said that neither officer told him that he had violated any traffic laws to justify the stop. He said he did not get their names and badge numbers.

“This is what white folks don’t experience,” he wrote on Facebook, adding sardonically, “Thumbs up to RPD for their awesome community engagement.”

After receiving a Free Press email recounting Mr. Chavis’ details of what happened and requesting comment and data, Maj. Smith responded: “Thank you for bringing this to my attention, and should you have any further contact with Mr. Chavis, I would ask that you encourage him to file a complaint with our Internal Affairs Unit.”

Maj. Smith stated that a complaint would allow the department to “fully investigate this situation and therefore be in a position to address any internal issues or explain the totality of circumstances that led to this encounter.”

Mr. Chavis stated in an Aug. 5 Facebook post that he would not file a complaint.

“I am too politically active to become any more of a target by white supremacy,” he said. “I have kids. Plus I already have people sending anonymous emails to my job trying to convince Lewis Ginter to fire me.

“I’m good. I’m already out here risking enough as it is being vocal and outspoken about this racist ass system as a black man in the Capital of the Confederacy,” he added.

Still, Mr. Chavis’ posts about his experience have only added to the current of suspicion officers face despite programs like National Night Out.

“And they wonder why we as African-Americans have no respect for the badge,” a person responded to Mr. Chavis on Facebook.

“No matter how much good you do for the community and how involved you are, they still see you as a ‘N……’ They see a color and automatically think the worse.”